It is not easy to come to a consensus on what a school’s social media policy and a responsible user agreement should look like. But we were able to do that at TIS, with a little blood and sweat(chokes, punches, etc.).
All finger pointing aside, I am impressed with the documents we created and they should give the administration at TIS something solid to work from as they look to solidify the IT policies and how IT equipment is used in the future.
With regards to the social media policy, we felt it was important to set the tone with a well-defined purpose for the social media policy right from the beginning. We did this to bring clarity to those who may have questions as to why and what will this social media policy stand for. We then felt it was important to set up a few general guidelines before delving into more specific guidelines for students, teachers and parents. We then concluded our policy in the appendices by tying it to the NETS, as we felt this would give the document a respected framework where individuals could again see the validity through the lens of something standardized. That was the thinking for the National Technology Standards for Teachers as well.
In the policy I personally felt it was important to address the issue of microblogs. I feel we have brought some clarity for how it can and should be used in our K-8 school setting. I also thought it was important to have student, teacher and parent guidelines in place as this conveys two things: it lets the different stakeholders involved know that they have an important role in how they should be interacting/overseeing the interactions. It also sends the message to the different stakeholders that it is not just on one group, it will be a team effort to make the policy work. The policy is embedded below, have a look:
With regards to the Responsible User Agreement, as we are an IB School we felt it was important to bring in the attributes of the IB Learner Profile for this document. A lot of discussion took place regarding how best to do this and we tried to make a document that connects IT usage to the learner profile as best as possible. A Responsible User Agreement online form was also created to allow the collection/entering of forms to be completed more easily.
The Responsible User Agreement is broken into four sections: Representation, Privacy, Netiquette and Copyright. Each section has connections to the IB Learner Profile. This we hope will help our IB students to easily understand how the Learner Profile attributes are something that are easily transferable when they interact with IT in various ways. We tied it to the Nets for students and teachers as well, feeling this would give the document a “backbone”, so to speak. We also added a parents signature option as well, since we aim to not just use the document with the middle school kids, but with the entire K-8 community. The document can be seen below:
To conclude, I am very proud of the two IT documents we created for our school. The documents should truly give the administration a solid framework for how IT is implemented in the foreseeable future.